Part 18: More "Favourites".
And coda - once again:

Highlights at "The Favourite"? Too many to mention, but...
Bob Pearce: doing his own "Keep On Keepin' On"
Chad Strentz: soulful on blues ballads - rocking hard on "That's All Right"
Shakey Vick's two powerful songs towards the end. I haven't seen him on stage since the Carnarvon Castle era. Now I remember what I've been missing.

A concentrated audience of (from the left):
Eleanor (Shakey Vick's daughter), Steve Stares (blue shirt), yours truly craning his neck, Shakey Vick clenching his pint, unknown gent to the front with glasses, unknown gent without - and far right: cool Chad Strentz.   Photo © Bob Pearce

Sugarcoated love galore
Earl Green and Corina Greyson: two amazing voices doing "Sugarcoated Love" as a sizzlingly hot duet. And Jon T-Bone Taylor's Telecaster licks behind Earl's songs were something else... Chalk it up for another guitar hero.

And as Le Grand Finale:
The l-o-o-o-ng (and hugely popular) duet by Bob Pearce and Big Joe Louis (who had finished his own gig by then) on "If You Love Somebody". Naughty language there, boys... lots of giggles.
Ample backup of the duo: the hardworking team of Top Topham (oh those growling licks coming from somewhere below his toes...), Steve Weston, Jim Mercer and Martin Deegan.
And then the roof fell in... Almost. I must admit being sort of a guitar freak. But despite the abundance of instrumental talent (Topham's bluesy twang, Taylor's chameleonlike versatility, Pearce's slide, Whitehill's cool tone, Weston's beautiful piano tinklings) I was still most impressed by the high vocal standard. The purist who says that only Americans can sing the blues should have been strapped to a chair in "The Favourite" for a couple of hours. Not as a punishment but as a gift. Guess he would have repented soon...

I was also impressed by the helpfulness and friendliness I sensed between the musicians themselves. And when interviewing a couple of them on the subject on separate occasions I appeared to have drawn the correct conclusions: They do cooperate more than they compete. "Got a faulty amp, mate? Borrow mine!"

The three of us left London Sunday evening, our little heads filled with memories and our arms cradling treasured blues mementos courtesy of Big Joe. Impressed not only by the music itself of the London blues scene - but by all the hospitality we had encountered everywhere. Thank you all eversomuch.
We'll be back